What is meaningful work?

What does meaningful work really mean? Research suggests it could be much more accessible than you might think…

The term ‘meaningful’ often brings to mind jobs that save lives or at least make a great difference to the community and/or the environment. This is probably why so few people perceive their role as meaningful.

A 2019 CIPD report stated that almost 1/4 of people don’t think their job ‘contributes to society’ and 1 in 10 don’t even think it ‘contributes to their organisation!’

Yet most people can obtain meaningful work in reality…

ServiceNow has found that the top three factors that contribute meaning actually include:

  1. ‘Being part of a team’ (43%)
  2. ‘Learning new skills to advance your career’ (42%)
  3. And ‘having your contribution to the business recognised by colleagues and managers’ (39%)

Employers may feel reliant upon their business leaders to create this sense of meaning – a great reminder for anyone who is managing a team.

Currently, only 28% of respondents believe they’re part of a team, 17% think they have the chance to progress, and 18% feel ‘recognised’.

What can you do to bring more meaning to your job?

There are some changes you can make to improve each of the above factors.

  1. Unless you work entirely alone, you can take a look at the way you work with others. Are you open to receiving offers of help or ideas shared by colleagues? Do you remember to offer yours in return? Could you ever create a small project group or duo (management approval allowing!)?
  2. Where possible, approach your manager/s with suggestions for skills that would benefit your role and -vitally- the organisation. If you receive a firm ‘no’ but there’s something you really want to work on for the benefit of your career, see how you can build this skill in your own time, while respecting your personal time and budget constraints. You can always take your new skills to your next employer!
  3. Seeking recognition is perhaps the hardest element to ‘DIY!’ It can help to remember that your managers may be noticing and appreciating more than they share; it could just be their personal style. That said, there may also be times that they don’t know quite what you’re working on. If you suspect the latter, don’t be afraid of using small opportunities to share your progress and achievements. After all, your progress and achievements also directly benefit the company.

Still seeking greater meaning at work? Visit our jobs page to see the latest opportunities.



Improving your workplace wellness

Wish you felt happier at work but have no idea what contributes to your workplace wellness? New findings from The Myers-Briggs Company could help.

We recently discussed the fact workplace wellbeing appears to increase with age. The article cited a Myers-Briggs study that we’ll be returning to today. According to their findings…

Your workplace wellness is most affected by:

  1. Your relationships with colleagues (7.85/10)
  2. A sense of ‘meaning’ (7.69/10)
  3. Your workplace accomplishments (7.66/10)
  4. A feeling of engagement (7.43/10)
  5. Experiencing positive emotions (7.19/10)

There is also a strong relationship between high wellbeing and reporting the following:

  • High job satisfaction
  • A strong interest in your day-to-day job activities
  • Greater commitment to the company
  • ‘Citizenship behaviours’, including a willingness to assist your colleagues and/or reach business objectives
  • A lower likelihood to look for an alternative job.

You’ll find more information regarding the correlations with gender, occupation, and location here.

How to use these findings to your benefit:

If you’ve already been looking for alternative jobs for the past few weeks (or months!), you’ll know that there is something that’s encouraging you to look elsewhere.

Yet have you had the chance to identify what this is? It could simply be the case that you’re ready for a new challenge. Or it could be that one or more of the above factors are missing.

  • Take a look at both of the above lists. Which elements ring true to you? Then, taking a closer look at the first list, which elements matter most to you?
  • Perhaps it’s more important that you enjoy working with your colleagues and you’re interested in your work than to feel as if you’re achieving certain accomplishments. There are no wrong answers!

How to use your findings to support your job search:

  1. Watch out for key words on job advertisements and company websites. For example, if you’re looking for a sense of meaning, you could research your prospective responsibilities, company mission statements, and how the industry benefits communities or society as a whole.
  2. Share your priorities with your Recruitment Consultant and ask more about these elements in your interviews. For instance, if you’re guided by a sense of accomplishment, you could enquire about the sorts of projects you would work on, whether there is the chance to work to targets, etc.
  3. Add more depth to your applications and interviews. Use your personal motivations to engage prospective employers and stand out. For example, when asked why you applied for an opening, you could discuss your core motivations (e.g. being a part of a community-driven organisation) and what it was about the job spec and website that attracted you to the role (e.g. the fact you’d be supporting others, the community projects discussed, and/or a specific shared mission).

Why not get started on that research now by taking a look at the latest jobs!